Customers lined up, waiting around the block for what you’re selling. This is the dream of all business leaders, especially when those customers come back every single day for more. We all want an infinite stream of buyers, willing to fork over whatever we feel like charging, so we can enjoy the spoils of success.
This may sound like a fairytale, but this enviable state is anything but make-believe for Chef Dominique Ansel in New York City. Customers, in fact, wait in long lines daily for the maestro’s wares. In this case, his magical invention is known as a Cronut. These tasty indulgences are the love child of a fiery romance between a croissant and a doughnut. Thin layers of croissant dough, molded together in the shape of a doughnut, served in a variety of exotic flavors such as Strawberry Balsamic and Mascarpone, Salted Dulce de Leche, and Morello Cherry with Toasted Almond Cream.
Because this creative chef’s offering is unique, the world has taken notice. Unlike other traditional options, these one-of-a-kind treats are in extremely high demand. Every batch is sold out within an hour, and the price point ($5.00 each) is five times higher than the generic glazed doughnut down the street.
While on the subject of doughnuts, something special is also brewing in Portland, Oregon. Voodoo Doughnuts is equally packed, but not because they serve up your average cruller. This hip joint combines the feel of a tattoo parlor with strange name and flavor doughnuts such as Bacon Maple, Dirty Snowballs, and the Gay Bar Doughnut. There’s even a Voodoo Doll doughnut, allowing you to savor revenge on your enemies while getting your morning sugar rush. In addition to funky food, they also perform weddings. Oh yeah, dozens of doughnut-driven weddings have been performed “beneath the holy doughnut and a velvet painting of Isaac Hayes.” In Portland, there are all the other competitors that are nearly indistinguishable…. And then there’s Voodoo Doughnuts, standing firmly in it’s own category.
The mash-up – combining two disparate ideas to create something new – is a powerful mechanism for creative discovery. If it can drive success in the simple world of doughnuts, just think what it can do for you. What if you combined your law firm with that of a trendy club? Clients are greeted with Techno music in the lobby while attendants in black turtlenecks serve VOS water in Martini glasses. Yes, some clients may be alienated, but others would fall in love with the unique and compelling experience.
Does your financial services website look just like the competitive pack? What if you borrowed design cues from the apparel industry? Or used marketing techniques from Broadway musicals?
Snag ideas from less obvious sources and combine them with your own business to create something fresh and inspired. Your ‘Reese’s Peanut Butter moment’ can be the turning point to forge a wildly differentiated product or service — One that will have customers lining up around the block. Ditch the typical offerings, and craft your own Cronut. Doing so will yield the most delicious treat of all… sustainable success.